Are White Synthesizers cooler than Black Synthesizers?*

Over on, minisystem wrote a post asking "Is this the world's coolest looking synth?" about Modcan's 'B Series' modular synths (above) from Toronto. He's got a point, but the truth is white synths always look cool:
  • Access Virus TI Polar Even has white LEDs.
  • Buchla 200e Buchla synths were always white, to distinguish them from black Moogs.
  • Arp Odyssey The first batch of Odysseys were white, and supposedly had a better filter than later black ones.
  • Fairlight CMI All that stuff about sampling distracted people from the crucial element of the Fairlight's success: It was white.
  • Akai MPC60 Again, people remember that Roger Linn's amazing machine made modern hip-hop possible. But they only bought it because it was white.
  • Casio VL-Tone All the toy Casio keyboards that followed it were black, but the original VL-Tone was white. That's why they're still cool today.
  • Farfisa Professional Not a synth, and not strictly white, but this is What Sly Stone Was Playing
  • EMS Synthi All those English EMS synths were white. Perhaps it helped the spazz-noises to flow out of them?
  • Oberheim Four Voice Oberheims started out white. When Prince was using a 4-Voice to make 'Purple Rain', they were white. When Eddie Van Halen was using an OB-Xa to make 'Jump', they'd turned black. I think that tells us something important.
    *With apologies to Might Magazine and Donnell Alexander

  • Comments:
    Don't forget modern white synths, like the Korg Triton series, including the Triton Rack.
    Is the Triton not more of a silver? I'm definitely no expert, so I could well be wrong... Silver synths are not the same thing at all.
    The Triton is white with silver trim. The Triton Rack has a pure white front panel.

    You may be thinking of the older Trinity; the TR-Rack is certainly silver, and I think the Trinity and TrinityPro were as well.

    White is the new black. W00t!
    It's all about how they sound, not how they look...
    What about the exceptions? The Oberheim Matrix 1000 was originaly black faced but later changed to white. The black was much better as it had better filters than the white version.
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    'Anonymous' wrote "It's all about how they sound, not how they look..."
    Right. You're BARRED. Whoever wrote this is not welcome at Music Thing. If I see you round these parts again, there will be trouble...
    but what about other colors?

    there was also a yellow somethin or other, but i forget its name...
    let us not forget the oh so ovoid omnichord.
    I'm calling the NAACP...
    sure its about how it sounds, but wouldn't you rather play an amazing sounding and great looking synth (such as the beautiful beast detailed above) than a amazing sounding ugly piece of crap?
    Dont' forget the white Crumar Bit 01.

    - Peter
    of course everyone has seen this:
    For what it's worth EMS Synthis and VCS-3s came in both Aluminum and 'Morning Mist' colour. I believe the off-white color allowed one to use a china marker and wipe it off. I believe the Aluminum ones were earlier.

    And fwiw there are no substantial filter differences between different colored Matrix 1000s though there are surely some units that are more reliable or constructed better than others.

    The Arp Odyssey colour and filter info is correct though the earlier white face filter being perfered has a lot to do with it sounding the most different from a Moog in comparison. Chances are anyone making comparisons owns a Moog already.

    Interestingly the later original designs from several companies (Arp Quadra, EMS Polysynthi, Moog Source) were sort of playskool-ish primaries on a darker background, so maybe that will come around again after they see that French children's synth controller
    I personally have a Jones for red and green keyboards like the wurlitzer 200A series (I cheated an painted mine red)
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